We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, but I cannot wait for Thanksgiving to be over already. All of my favourite recipe websites are giving me too much pumpkin. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cake. Pumpkin mousse. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin spice lattes. Congratulations America on successfully holiday-theming a vegetable. It makes me extremely nervous because Christmas is coming next and that means an onslaught of peppermint-flavoured everything. Whoever decided that Christmas should taste of peppermint is an asshole because obviously only toothpaste and chewing gum should taste like peppermint. And certainly not actual food that you swallow.
I’m so over seeing this insane pumpkin obsession that for some reason it’s even turned me off my usual dessert favourites of chocolate and caramel and custard and cream and straight into the arms of lemon. Fucking lemon. Maybe I’m coming down with something.
So to celebrate the imminent end of pumpkin mania, here is a lemon cake. It’s deliciously lemony and buttery and damp (in place of the creepy m word – Nigella uses the word damp to describe cake so it’s totally acceptable) and topped with a thick lemon glaze because as you know I don’t like naked cakes. Plus the textural sugary layer on top is a nice contrast and nothing says To hell with your damn pumpkins! than a crust of lemon flavoured sugar.
I guess it’s more of a teacake than an actual dessert, but definitely the kind of cake that you could easily pick at all day long without feeling like a huge grazing heifer. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Let’s just say that it is.
Lemon Cake with Lemon Icing
For the Cake:
200g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
200g golden(or raw) caster sugar
3 large eggs
50g plain flour
125g ground almonds
2 lemons (juice of 1 lemon and finely grated zest of 2 lemons)
For the icing:
1 lemon, juice only
100g icing sugar
Fruit to decorate, optional
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease the base and sides of a 20-22cm/8-8½in round cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. When the eggs are fully incorporated, fold in the flour, then the almonds and lemon zest.
Scrape the mixture into the tin and tap the sides to release any air bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the sponge is lightly golden-brown, coming away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is still hot and still in the tin, stab it with a skewer (or uncooked stick of spaghetti) or some such weapon all over the cake. Drizzle the lemon juice into the holes and all over the cake then leave in the tin to cool.
When you’re ready to serve the cake, make the icing. To make the icing, mix the lemon juice, a little at a time, into the icing sugar to make a smooth paste. Remove the cooled cake from the tin and smooth the icing on the top, then serve. Decorate with fruit if using.